The world’s biggest solar and battery storage project, planned for Australia’s Northern Territory and backed by billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Andrew Forrest, is about to get bigger.

The Sun Cable project, which started out as a 10GW solar project in 2019, has expanded to plans to install 14GW of solar PV, 20-30 gigawatt-hours of battery storage and a 5,000km transmission system linking Darwin and Singapore.

But the company behind the project, also called Sun Cable, has been crunching the numbers on scale and technology costs and is expected to announce the details of a further expansion later this month, and possibly reveal some new customers.

“The project is getting bigger,” Sun Cable CEO David Griffin told RenewEconomy. “With the passage of time we have been able to undertake a lot more research into the nature of the… solar resource and the technology roadmap for photovoltaics and storage, and the load profile of our prospective customers.

“When you put all that together, that demonstrates we can achieve a significantly larger installed capacity at that site and, to some degree, it would be optimal to do that to better serve the loads we are seeing.”

Griffin would not say by how much the 14GW capacity of the solar component would increase, but said that the battery storage component – previously estimated at between 20 and 30GWh – would increase accordingly.

The fact that Sun Cable is looking to deliver up to 800MW to the Darwin grid by 2026 is significant because it points to a major new customer for renewable energy as the local grid currently has average demand of just 150MW.

 

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